Viacom Claims Filmmaker Infringed His Own Copyright
This is one of those stories that can only make you scratch your head in wonder. An independent filmmaker in North Carolina blogged about an interesting situation copyright situation:
[M]ultimedia giant Viacom is claiming that I have violated their copyright by posting on YouTube a segment from it's VH1 show Web Junk 2.0... which VH1 produced – without permission – from a video that I had originally created.
Apparently Christopher Knight was running for a local board of education seat and created a commercial in which a Death Star blew up a little red school house. Viacom was amused enough to run it on national television without asking. But the humor quickly ended when Knight, who enjoyed the segment about himself, put it on YouTube. Only in the entertainment industry.
Labels: copyright, film, infringement, Knight, Viacom, YouTube
Beauty and the Writer
Sharon Steel apparently has a great eye for the ltitle
things that undermine our collective intelligence - like the apparent need of book marketers to play up the sex appeal of authors. Her Boston Phoenix article
nails yet another of the nails in the coffin of literature:
But in the post-do-me feminist, post–Harry Potter publishing climate, nobody can predict what the Next Big Thing will be. So it makes sense, if you can’t force a phenomenon, to attract readers to books the same way you’d attract them to another human being. Instead of confining sex to the text, publishers have been quietly whoring out their authors in the best way they know how.
At one time it was enough to be an author with something to say. Then you had to have "platform," because the publishers wanted someone
to sell the damned book so no one had to take a risk, even though that's what business really is about.
But now? They want models, actors, pretty boys and girls. How many great authors of the past would make it today? Look at the pseudo biopic, Becoming Jane, about the supposed lost love of Jane Austen. Who did they get to play Austen? The lovely Anne Hathaway, when the author was not a raving beauty. Heaven forbid that Hollywood case someone ... plain
in the role.
But perhaps I shouldn't be too hard on the movie. The trend to make writers prettier and the center of romantic intrigue has been around a long time, particularly for female authors. I spoke with Austen scholar Emily Auerbach
, a professor of literature at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and author of Searching for Jane Austen
. "Early relatives and editors and critics censored her words, tried to distort her image, actually added ringlets to her portraits to make her look more feminine," she says.
The family, riding the business that Austen become, actually rewrote parts of her letters to make her sound sweeter when, in reality, her sense of observation and descriptive encapsulation could be even sharper than in her books. "For example, she wrote about some neighbors, 'I was a civil to them as their bad breath would allow,'" Auerbach
says. The family changed the halitosis reference to something like "as circumstances would allow." Becoming Jane
tries to summarize Austen's genius for satire and the comedy
of manners with the line, "Their love story was her greatest inspiration." Forget the literate family, early evidence of her gift, her wide reading and critical eye. It all comes down to the romance of the pretty characters. (Heaven help any similar treatment of someone like Nabokov with Lolita hanging in the background.)
Sadly, I don't expect any of this to change, except for the worse. I know writers in their 40s, 50s, and 60s - talented, practiced, with significant life experience - who will never get the break. Not young enough or pretty enough. There are times I begin to understand that J.D. Salinger's hermitage is not simply psychological quirk, but at least in part a clear perception of the essence of commercial publishing. The non-pretty authors may suffer, but I think society loses far more: a chance at some self-knowledge and, perhaps, a touch of soul.
Labels: age, authors, beauty, Becoming Jane, Boston Phoenix, Emily Auerbach, Finding Jane Austen, Jane Austen, Sharon Steel
Five Words Never to Say to Pro Photographers
PDNOnline, the web site of photographer trade publication Photo District News, has a story about how pressure from angry photographers broke up a business relationship
. Modern Postcard is a standard stop for pro shooters who have samples of their work printed to send to potential clients. The company was working with iStockphoto, a microstock site where photographers, often amateurs, upload photos and people can pay a pittance to use images for their projects. This is a major pressure on pros who can't ignore the costs of overhead, equipment, and so on, and must charge rates that let them run a profitable business.
Modern sent out a mailing with the following paragraph:
"As a Modern Postcard customer, you're entitled to free images, free credits and a 10% discount on any iStockphoto credit bundle over $20. So, skip the expensive photo shoot and create direct mailers with high quality images from iStockphoto.com!"
And the five words you can't say to pro photogaphers? Skip the expensive photo shoot.:
The response was so fast and negative that Modern Postcard sent out an apology the same day. "We sincerely apologize as this miscommunicates our intentions and our feelings about professional photography," the company wrote in another e-mail within hours of its first message Friday.
Labels: iStockphoto, Modern Postcard, photographers
Partisanship, Pay, and Politics
I was listening to an NPR interview of New York City mayor and media mogul Michael Bloomberg. Aside from the interviewer repeatedly trying to bring in the concept of a presidential bid and Bloomberg unequivocally saying that he absolutely would not run, there was an interchange on the nature of politics in areas like education. Bloomberg is an expected fan of capitalism and the power of incentive. Pay to get things done and, if they don't get done, pull back the rewards and try something else. And when asked about the problem in politics, Bloomberg said it was partisanship.
However, I'm not sure that the two are differentiated. There are "partisans" in capitalism, in the sense that different groups will have varying interests and will want to be the ones that get market rewards. Often they will compete for the same rewards. That is what happens in politics, I think. Political parties may think that they know what is best for the country, but more too often they seem to be more focused on what is good for the party. Each is responding to the market forces of incentive, only the incentive is paid for self-interest, and not for solving public problems. The difficulty is that the money and power as forms of payment come from controlling political offices, not from actually getting something done. Instead of working to get rid of that sort of payoff, we should redirect it - get the spoils of political war by actually achieving something positive. But then, we'd all need to agree on a definition of the public good, and that may be the most difficult part of all.
Labels: Bloomberg, New York, NPR, Politics
Technique: Using a Tripod
I've mentioned the technique of using a monopod
, and so thought I should say something for its three-legged cousin, the tripod.
First, let's look at what you need in a tripod. Cheap ones are attractive because they're, well, so cheap. But don't skimp here. Better tripods will cost more but be more rigid, have smoother controls, and so forth. You can feel the difference when you use one.
If you're getting a good tripod, realize that you'll have to buy the head separately. I'd suggest at least looking at a ball head. You can smoothly move it in any direction and then tighten it in place, versus a pan-and-tilt head, where you monkey with three separate controls to move the camera forward and back, side to side, and around in a circle.
Look for a tripod with a bubble level on it. Although you can go for a rakish angle as a visual statement, you really do want to be able to take a level picture. If the tripod is level, then you don't have to fight that when trying to get the camera level.
To use the tripod, do the following:
- Spread the legs apart.
- Hold the tripod head up close to where you want it to be and extend the legs either as far as they can go or until the hit the ground. You want to rely on the legs as much as possible for height, with the center column for final adjustments.
- Adjust the leg heights until the tripod head is level.
- Take the quick release plate from the tripod head and screw it into the camera. Now connect the camera to the tripod head.
- Make final adjustments with the center column to get the final height. Take your picture.
Tripods can be a pain in strong winds, but there are some things you can do. One is to hang your camera bag or other weight down from the bottom of the center column if it allows you to do so. That adds weight and makes it more stable. If that doesn't work, you can drape something heavy over the foot of each tripod leg to add some pressure holding it to the ground. One final tip for now: if you're in sand or dirt, consider bringing some plastic food storage bags with you and putting one over each foot so you keep the dirt out (though be careful that the plastic surface doesn't make the feet slide).
Labels: steady, technique, tripod
Thinking About Gresham's Law and Internet Discourse
A few months ago, someone emailed me with a passing reference to Gresham's Law
. I had never heard of this before, but apparently it is an economic formulation essentially saying that bad money drives out good. Gresham was an English businessman during the 16th century. In that time, money was metallic coins made out of some rare material - gold or silver. All the money was treated as legitimate currency and citizens were forced to accept it, but many people would shave some metal off the coins they held, keeping the scraps because they had their own value, and then use the coins at face value. Or sometimes governments would mix the rare materials with base ones to stretch them and keep more of the valuable metals themselves.
Eventually people got wise to this scheme and would keep the coins with more metal and spend the devalued currency. Thus, the "bad" money dominates the "good" because it tends to be the one in circulation, as people first spend the ones they know to be of lesser intrinsic value.
On it's own this is an interesting phenomenon. But it applies in other areas. According to the Wikipedia article, for example, lemons can push good vehicles out of the used auto market, because people want to dump the cars with problems, so the lemons recycle more quickly into the used market and, depending on their total number, can come to dominate it. So why not apply it to Internet discourse? I've seen firsthand more than once how unpleasant discourse in specialty online forums, driven by a few people, can cause more thoughtful and knowledgeable folk away. The result is that as new people come in, they see the "victors" as the long-time denizens and associate them with a greater understanding of the topic in question.
In other words, people online are collectively promoting misunderstanding and poor knowledge and effectively rewarding those who actively drive out others because of their own psychological peculiarities. It's another example of collective intellectual and emotional degeneration. What do we expect of younger generations, who spend so much time online, when these are the examples of "success?"
Labels: discussions, forums, Gresham's Law, Internet, online
Gonzales Resignation and D.C. Prevarication Quotient
Last Friday I mentioned our unpleasant national tendency in the US to redefine language and history
for petty personal reasons - and when done on a national level, I can't think of a single personal reason that doesn't fall into that category.
I just read that Alberto Gonzales is stepping down as Attorney General
come mid-September. It shows to what level we've sunk when someone who was so clearly talking out of not only both sides of his mouth, but any other available orafice could withstand the pressure to leave for so long. No explanation - and, of course, that probably means some in power in the Republican Party finally convinced Bush that even avoiding Senate confirmation hearings wasn't worth the political damage the group was taking. Not that it matters, and not that things will get noticeably cleaner in the capital, but it is an amazing site when so many professional politicians across the spectrum effectively say, "Well, I understand spin control, but this is too much even for me."
Bush's statement on the topic was, unfortunately, what one might expect:
"It's sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons," Bush said.
We could get into deconstructing this one sentence, though it would take too long. But let's note at least one partial truth: that his name was dragged through the mud for policital reasons. The question is, whose
Labels: administration, attorney general, bush, gonzales, Politics
Terminology: Circle of Confusion
Yesterday I wrote about hyperfocal distance
. I mentioned the concept of a circle of confusion. This sounds more confusing than it is.
It all comes down to perception. The human eye can only see so much detail. In fact, someone with perfect sight under good lighting can only distinguish between things that are at least a minute of arc apart or one-sixtieth of one degree. At reading distance, that means you could only distinguish between two points if there were at least a fifth of a millimeter apart. The distance is significantly larger if you're looking at a billboard from 200 feet away. That's because you're farther away, so a minute of arc traces out a bigger linear distance. (Think of stretching a long string from a central point outward. As you move the string around the point, the far end has to travel a greater distance than, say, the middle of the string to keep up.)
The circle of confusion actually has two meanings. In optics, it refers to the fact that no lens is perfect, so it won't actually focus images to a precise point. Instead, you get a little circle that is as close to a point as you can get. That is the circle of confusion.
To make that confusion a bit more confusion, photographers have a separate use of the term - the biggest circle that will appear as a point under the viewing conditions. It's really the maximum permissible circle of confusion, but photographers have shortened the phrase for convenience.
However, it all comes down to whether the circles the lens makes will look as though they're in focus. How this fits in with hyperfocal distance and depth of field is that when you focus your lens, you're actually focusing on a plane. Look at the image below:
Everything on the plane will be equally in focus. But as objects are farther from the plane, the image you get from the lens is a larger circle. When that circle gets too big - grows beyond the maximum permissible circle of confusion - it looks blurry. That's why you can take a photograph that looks in focus, hold a magnifying glass over it, and suddenly notice things that now look a little blurry.
If you're curious about the circle of confusion for a digital camera, I'll refer you back to DOFMaster
, which has an extensive reference table and calculator.
Labels: circle of confusion, term, terminology
Those with power in the US, over a number of years, have been taken with the idea of using language - even redefining it - to further their own agendas. This has been an unfortunate situation, because when you change the meaning of words, you begin manipulating thought in subtle and permanent ways with often unpredictable results. George Orwell saw the approaching danger when he wrote 1984, and, unfortunately, his view was prescient.
Now we see another form of redefining words - this time in redefining our collective memory of history. It's not the first time, but, again, another disturbing trend. In this case, President Bush tried to argue that the situation in Iraq is like that of Vietnam in the early 1970s, and even referring to al Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents in terms of the "war machine of imperial Japan," according to the Wall Street Journal. (Nothing like dredging up World War II imagery when Japan has greatly changed and is now a close ally.) He warns that a quick withdrawal could lead to chaos and another Khmer Rouge. "Then as now, people argued the real problem was America's presence and that if we would just withdraw, the killing would end," he said.
But this is rewriting history, as the 1984 character Winston Smith saw it done. Instead of seeing the past as immutable, it become an assemblage of clay. When you want to support something you do today, you rearrange the parts, eliminating the ones you don't like, and trot out the "proof." But, again according to the Journal, some historians are upset by this comparison.
"The president emphasized the violence in the wake of American withdrawal from Vietnam. But this happened because the United States left too late, not too early," says Steven Simon, a Mideast expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. "It was the expansion of the war that opened the door to Pol Pot and the genocide of the Khmer Rouge." Ret. Army Brig. Gen. John Johns tells the Journal that what he "learned in Vietnam is that U.S. forces could not conduct a counterinsurgency operation. The longer we stay there, the worse it's going to get."
You won't hear too many politicians complain about this, because, at least in my opinion, the majority want access to the same tools to further their ends.
But nothing good can come out of pretending that the past is something other than it was beyond trying to interpret what happened. To remake history is to lie - no other word fits this. But it's not a lie just told to someone else, but to yourself. When you lie to yourself, you destroy your reason. How can you effectively be rational at all if you won't see what is there and insist on making your decisions based on personal fancy? That means we now have a generation of politicians that do their work in a dream world, where the building blocks of experience are set tumbling and the very material of thought - language - is warped and twisted for expediency. Is there any wonder why our country has become so messed up?
Labels: 1984, history, Iraq, newspeak, Orwell, Vietnam
Technique: Using Hyperfocal Distance
Your lens aperture setting will affect depth-of-field - the amount of an image that will appear to be in focus. The smaller the f-stop number, the smaller the depth-of-field. Practically speaking, if you open your lens all the way up and focus on something, chances are that less of what you see will ultimately seem in focus than if you stop the lens down.
But you may find that you need to use a wider aperture because of the specific lighting conditions. If you still want s big a DOF as possible, then you want to know about the hyperfocal distance
. If you focus the lens on something that distance away, you'll get everything from that point to infinity and some about in front of it. Better lenses come with a scale that can help, as you can see in the image below:
The small numbers at the bottom are different f-stops. The numbers in the window are the distance at which you are focusing. Say you wanted the hyperfocal distance at f/16 (a smaller aperture, but the technique works there, as well). Then you'd set the focus on manual and turn it so that the infinity sign on the right was lined up over the 16. The center line on the scale below will point to the hyperfocal distance. The distance over the 16 on the right shows the closest distance that will appear in focus.
Ah, but what do you do when the lens doesn't have this feature? Use either a hyperfocal distance chart or calculator. Here's a spot
that has some free downloads that should be useful. You might notice the term circle of confusion - I'll get to that tomorrow.
Labels: circle of confusion, depth of field, DOF, focus, hyperfocal, technique
Stephen King Makes Australian Book Store Suspicious
If you worked at a book store and saw some stranger writing in books on the shelves, it might make you concerned. So the staff of the Alice Springs book store walked over to the gentleman scribbler. That's when they learned that Stephen King had made an unannounced stop and was adding his signature to his own novels, according to a BBC story
. "Well, if we knew you were coming we would have baked you a cake," said the manager to the author. Just don't ask what would have gone into
Labels: Australia, book store, signature, Stephen King
Technique: Making Autofocus Work
If you've used a digital SLR more than three or four times, chances are that you've had an experience where the image suddenly seems to go out of focus. Or it may be that you're scrambling around, trying to figure out how to focus in on a particular spot. Autofocus is great, but there are a few quirks and tips you typically need to know:
- AF Points A camera isn't a mind reader; you have to tell it where to focus. Most cameras use autofocus points (AF points, at least for the Canon owners). These are spots that you can see in the viewfinder. You should be able to choose which of the points to use, or whether they should try to average things out among them. If you have autofocus set for one point and that point isn't over the spot you want in focus, then chances are things will look fuzzy. Check to see which autofocus is active and set the point closest to the subject of your photo.
- Use Focus Lock If you are concerned that a picture might get away and don't want to start fussing with which AF point to use, then you can cheat. Move the camera so that the active AF point is over your subject, and then press the shutter button halfway. That generally locks in exposure and focus. Holding the button pressed part way, move the camera back to get the composition you want, and then press the button the rest of the way. You get the picture in focus.
- Look for AF Conditions There will be times that the camera keeps changing the focus but never settling in. That may be because either there's not enough contrast or that the image is too dark. Autofocus works by trying to maximize the contrast on edges in the image. If there is naturally low contrast in the subject, then the camera might not be able to figure out if it's in focus or not. Low light similarly makes the autofocus system crazed. In such a situation, there are two things I try. One is to find something else in the image that is about the same distance away from me. I focus on it, holding the shutter button half-way down, again, and then move back to the subject and finish pressing the shutter button. The other choice is to use manual focus, and there are occasions when that is the only choice that will work.
- Autofocus Switch If you've had to focus a lens automatically, or if you just wanted the practice, you might have forgotten to flip the autofocus switch back to automatic.
Labels: autofocus, automatic, focus, focusing, manual
Book Author Sues Reviewer
I'm not sure whether this is what the newspaper business calls a man-bites-dog story. Such a tale (or tail) depends on someone doing something you just wouldn't expect. Of course, most book authors probably harbor desires to sue for a bad review - and that's on their good days. (Imagination on the bad days tends toward more graphic and inventive violence.) So I was a bit surprised to read this BoingBoing post
about a blogger who saw the subject of a negative review head right to court. As the post quotes the blogger:
He claims to have a revolutionary idea for how evolution works, but his ideas have no connection to reality, and these lovely elaborate drawings he made look nothing at all like actual embryos. The bottom line is that I said his work was more about the evolution of balloon animals than biology.
Obviously this is proof positive that Darwin was nuts and that the fittest aren't necessarily the ones surviving.
Labels: blogs, court, reviews, suit
Technique: Use Negative Space in Composition
When composing an image, you want to call attention to your subject. One way of doing this is using negative space - the blank areas of your image. Now blank is a relative term. You won't see unexplained missing sections. Instead, the negative space is generally uniform in contrast to the rest of an image. Look at this example:
Negative space can become a powerful element of your compositional tools. Notice that in the picture there is largely undistinguished areas of grey on the right-hand side. That very lack of content and detail helps define the placement and arrangement of the arm with its painting equipment.
Labels: compose, composition, image, negative space
Eisenhower on Military Intervention
At a library book sale, I had picked up a copy of the book Confessions of a White House Ghostwriter: Five Presidents and Other Political Adventures
by James C. Humes. The author is apparentl7y quite a bright fellow with amazing intellectual retention and a personal history that has intersected the high and mighty.
On page 144, Mr. Humes mentions talking to richard Nixon shortly after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Although the Eisenhower quote is third hand, it's still worth repeating:
He told us that Kennedy seemed shaken by the incident. Nixon then reported former President Eisenhower's reaction. "Dick, for U.S. military intervention, you need four conditions: First, congressional support. Second, the occupation must be limited in time, or you will loose the support of public opinion. Third, there must be a viable leader with a broad popular backing to succeed the ousted dictator. And finally, whatever troops you need, take ten times more."
I suspect he didn't think it necessary to add, "And under no conditions should you destroy the entire infrastructure of the country and not put it back into place rapidly."
Labels: Eisenhower, ghostwriter, Humes, Iraq, Nixon, Politics, war, White House
Five Benefits from a Camera Bag
People often get camera bags without considering what the bags can do for them. Yes, you can heft bodies and lenses, but there are other advantages:
- It adds an extra layer of protection for your camera.
- Some bags come with built-in rain shields that you can pull over when the weather gets nasty. That's not only good for rain, but dust and sand.
- You can more easily carry non-camera items, like a cell phone or notebook, without bulging pockets or purses.
- It can be a way to carry your laptop. When you're traveling, go for a model that has space for a computer. That cuts the carry-on luggage for an airplane from two to one, making it more certain that you can keep the expensive equipment on your person.
- A camera case can be a great improvised camera support. Put it down on a rock, table, or the ground, set the camera on the bag, and you have a way of adding tripod-like stability to a shot.
When choosing a camera bag, do not, I repeat, do not pick one sight unseen from a catalog. I've found that the styles some manufacturers use suit me better than others. See what works closest to how you use your camera.
Also, consider how you want to carry the bag. Shoulder bags have been a traditional choice, and are good if you need quick access to your equipment at all times. But they can pull down on your body and throw off your posture. Backpack style bags distribute the weight more comfortably, but you have to take them off to get into them, meaning that the fleeting image may be gone by the time you're ready. If you have a lot of traveling and a lot of equipment, consider whether a wheeled bag with an extensible
handle might not make sense. I actually have more than one type so I can use the sort that best fits my needs at any time.
Labels: backpacks, bags, carry, carrying, comfort, shoulder
Faking Interest Online
The New York Times had an interesting letter to its ethicist
. Apparently the writer had interned at a magazine where the editor wanted him or her to post a comment on the publication's blog, but while pretending to have no affiliation. This would be considered a significant ethical lapse in any journalistic circle, as the BBC learned when it had to respond to staff calling in to programs, pretending to be audience members.
I have sympathy for the problem. I remember many years ago hosting a radio call-in show and having absolutely no one telephone. Eventually a friend of mine, the technical director, went to another room and called in to try and spark a conversation. So I understand the difficulty and discomfort of waiting for comments that don't come. However, we were young and foolish. Some might perceive faking an audience as a form of marketing, but it's dishonest.
There are situations and times at which you say, "No, I won't do that." The magazine could have disabled commenting for a while on its blog. Or it could have borne the terrible stigma of not having people care for its opinions - if anyone even noticed or cared. Instead, it choose to manipulate its audience, search engines, and anyone else who might pay attention. To me, that is on the same side of the line as peddling snake oil. I've found in my own blogs that I must insist on moderating comments because I've seen examples of interested people with clear agendas attempting to appear as though they were readers happening onto a topic. Too bad there isn't an equivalent function when you are in the audience and not running the forum.
Labels: comments, magazine, marketing, online
Some Notes on Sizing Images: Part 5, Changing Image Size
Remember this screen from yesterday?
Now we learn how to change the image size. So long as Constrain Proportions is checked, when one things shifts, everything will. But generally you'll either want to change the size and keep the resolution the same, or change the size and resolution simultaneously. To do so, uncheck Resample Image. Now if you change the size (or pixel dimensions), now the resolution will remain the same and the image editor will make the necessary changes to the image to make everything.
So say that you have a 4x5 inch image at 300 dpi and you want the same size, but a lower resolution because you want it on the web and there's no need to use extra storage and take longer to downlond. So change the 300 dpi to 96 dpi and then click the OK button.
You can enlarge the image size or resolution, as well. Go back and recheck Resample Image. (Don't worry about the method - bicubic will do fine for now.) Now try changing the size. The resolution remains the same becuase the software is calculating what necessry changes to make.
Making an image smaller is always easier than making it larger, because in the first case you toss out informaiton, and in the latter, the software must make a calculated guess as to what additional image information it would need to fill in all those spaces that appeared when you spread the pixels out over a bigger distance. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good, and you'll have a larger image.
Labels: arc, image size, resolution
Finding the UK Close to Home
I just got back from St. John's, Newfoundland, and was intrigued by the accents. Some sounded as though they had been transported wholesale from the north of England. That reminded me how often US regional accents, at least in the eastern part of the country. If you can hear some of the undiluted ones - easier in the case of someplace like Newfoundland and more difficult when areas become homogenized through urban concentration - there are traces of Irish, Scot, English, and Welsh. Although a bit technical in the linguistic sense, here's an article from Wikipedia about this
. Now I just need to find a layman's book on the subject.
Labels: accents, England, Ireland, New England, Newfoundland, Scotland, Wales
Some Notes on Sizing Images: Part 4, Meeting an Image Editor
Now that we know something about the resolution and image size trade-off, let's see how you'd actually change the image settings. Take a look at this screen shot from Photoshop Elements:
The top section shows you the current dimensions of the image in pixels, at you can also see that the image has 32.7 megapixels. The latter isn't necessarily the same as the file size, depending on the type of image file. A JPEG file will be compressed and, so, smaller than, say, a TIFF image file. Although you see the width and height in pixels, you can choose other forms of measurement, like inches. However, pixels is a useful choice because you can relate it to the properties of the file - X pixels across and Y pixels high.
Next section is called Document Size. This is how the image will display, and you can see both the dimensions and resolution. You can change the units here (even choose a percentage unit if you want to scale the image up or down a given amount).
In both the Document Size and Pixel Dimension sections, the a bracket with a chain connect the width and height figures. That keeps the dimensions in a constant ratio. If you wanted to change the two disproportionately (not done that often in photography, unless you're trying to distort the results), you can click on the chain and it will appear broken, telling you that the two are no longer linked.
You can also change any of the numbers and all of the others will change accordingly, so long as the Constrain Proportions box at the bottom is checked.
Tomorrow we'll actually manipulate the image size.
Labels: arc, image size, resolution
Some Notes on Sizing Images: Part 3, Image Size
We've looked at the image resolution. Today we start to include image size, which means the size at which the image displays. Image size is a second constraint put on an image - its display size. It's fine to know the resolution, but you also want to know how large the image will actually be. Note that you can theoretically display an image at virtually any resolution and any size - a 500 foot wide 60 dpi imge, or a 5 inch wide 300 dpi. So, when resizing an image, you will need to specify this in the image editor.
Resolution and image size are inversely related. The lower the resolution, the more you can spread out the pixels, and so the bigger the image. Similarly, the smaller the image, the more you can crank up the resolution.
This will be a trade-off: You only have so much image data and so must make due with what you have. If you have a 300 dpi image that is 4x5 inches in size, without adding to or subtracting from the image data, you can have an image double that size - 8x10 inches - but the resolution is only going to be 150 dpi, because you're spreading the dots farther apart to get them to fit in the new image display size. Similarly, you can take the 300 dpi image and squish it down to 2x2.5 images, only the new resolution will be 600 dpi. Even if you print the image to see at arm's length, you'd only need 300 dpi. In other words, you have more resolution than you really need, and that means taking up more storage for the one photo than is necessary.
What you want to do is give an image the resolution and size you really need. An application like Photoshop Elements gives you a lot of options on that front. More on that tomorrow.
Labels: arc, image size, resolution
Some Notes on Sizing Images: Part 2, Resolving Power
The human eye is an amazing instrument, but to distinguish between two separate points, we all need a little distance between them. But the distance is a matter of arc. If you set a compass with one leg where you are and the drawing part on one of the points, then twisted the compass so that the drawing part was on the second point, you would have just drawn an arc, or a short section of a much bigger circle. Remember that there are 360º in a circle and there are 60 minutes, or parts, to every degree.
The human eye can distinguish between two points if there is about 1.7 minutes of arc between them. However, the actual linear distance between them is the amount of arc times the distance from you to the points. The farther away the points are from you, the farther away they can be from each other and still keep the same amount of arc between them.
The idea behind images is that we don't want the eye to be able to distinguish between the points. Otherwise every picture would look like a bunch of points - like a pointillist painting by Seurat. The closer you get, the more you notice the points. But if you move away far enough, then everything blends together to look like a continuous image. So when you are resizing images, you need first to understand the resolution you want, and that depends on the medium you choose to display the image and the conditions under which an audiece will see it. (Tomorrow, something on image size.)
Labels: arc, image size, resolution
New Zealand Newspaper Publisher Outsources Editing, Production
I was sorely tempted to call this, "And Now A Word From Out Outsourcer." According to an AP report, New Zealand newspaper publisher APN News & Media is outsourcing editing and layout
of the country's biggest daily. By the end of 2007, the contracting firm, Pagemasters New Zealand, will be editing APN's seven papers using 45 editors, nearly 30 fewer than the papers themselves used. The company's owner also has other media properties, including some newspapers in Ireland that will be following a similar course. The APN executive who has led the New Zealand project said, "I'm confident readers won't notice the difference."
That may be, at least if all goes well, but are editors mere functionaries that improve copy and lay it out? Or are they generally an intrinsic part of filtering through and choosing news direction? I've never worked on staff at a newspaper, but it seems to me that there is the potential for some conflict of interest. The outsourcing firm - which is owned by New Zealand Associated Press, and so certainly having access to expertise - is, nevertheless, going to be primarily concerned with efficiency, not necessarily the underlying mission of the papers.
Mission may sound quaint to some who would argue that these newspapers are business concerns and must be treated as such. Yet that's what I'm doing. When the primary interest of a business is making money, they it ceases to care about what else it does and customers cease to care about doing business with it. No one owes a company attention or sales; that comes as a consequence of providing something to customers. I understand the need to constrain costs, but no company has ever trimmed its way into greatness. I'm sure lowering overhead is what APN is gaining. I wonder if anyone has tallied what it might be losing.
Labels: APN, editorial, outsourcing
Gioogle Gives Sources Talk-Back Ability
Google is letting sources quoted in stories that appear on Google News Service the ability to comment on the coverage. My, what a thorny issue this has opened. As the Wall Street Journal reported:
In an experimental project, Google this week began soliciting comments from individuals and groups cited in stories it carries, working to verify the identities of those commenting and displaying the comments alongside links to the original stories.
One big question is how does Google know whether those commenting are actually who they claim to be. This is going to be far more time consuming and expensive than I think they realize.
Some in the news industry are concerned about the chance that Google could become ombudsman to the world. But one good thing - not only will the sources be allowed to respond, but so will the reporters and editors. Also, I don't see why it's necessarily bad for sources and journalists to mix it up. Mistakes are more rampant in the news than I think many insiders realize - or want to know. Some months back I interviewed someone from an educational institution and, in the process, asked out of curiosity how often reporters got things wrong. What I heard back was, in major stories, only one out of five don't
have significant mistakes. Granted, her view of mistakes included mischaracterizing the institution, which would seem a PR matter, but, really, if you can't correctly identify what an entity does, what else in the story is questionable?
The other possibilty here is that this could become a way of annotating stories to give fuller context. Here's the last paragraph from the Wall Street Journal story:
Vic Strasburger, a professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico, said Google asked him by email to comment on an Associated Press article about a fast-food study in which he'd been quoted. Dr. Strasburger submitted a comment expanding on what he was cited as saying in the article. "I'll do a 15- to 20-minute interview, and two sentences will appear about what I've said," he said in an interview. "So the Google feature is really a chance to flesh out those two sentences and to include some more of what I ordinarily talk about in a 15- to 20-minute interview."
Coudl it be that this is a key ingredient news outlets have been missing in attracting younger readers, who are used to the back and forth debate that happens on the web?
Labels: comments, Google, news, stories
Some Notes on Sizing Images: Part 1, Resolution
One of the most common thing to do with photos is resize them, whether to get the ready for the web, fit them onto 4 x 6 standard prints, enlarge them, or even crop to improve the composition. And your ability to do any of these comes down to resolution and image size. Resolution refers to how many little digital dots you have in a given linear measure. For example, you might have 300 dots per inch (dpi) on a traditional print, or you might have 96 pixels per inch (ppi) for a screen display of an image. Here's an example of resolutions you'd need for some common uses:
|Use||Resolution (in dpi/ppi)|
|Prints to be seen at a couple of feet||300|
|Prints to be seen at ten feet||60|
The word resolution is clearly related to the word resolve, and that's the whole issue, as we'll see tomorrow.
Labels: arc, image size, resolution
What Not to See (in the Viewfinder)
When in the throes of shooting, you can get carried away and miss things that will make your picture look bad, Here's a quick list of what can be problems and ways to solve them:
- Busy backgrounds can distract from your subject and draw someone's eye away. Try shifting your position relative to the subject, getting the subject to move or using selective focus to blur the background.
- Scenes often have natural horizontal and vertical lines - like a tree or the horizon. If you work in haste, you can make them look tilted, causing the whole scene to seem odd. Line the horizontal or vertical lines up with the edges of your viewfinder to get closer to level. If you do make a mistake, fix this in your image editing program.
- Tip a camera and look up or down or along something's side, and you'll find that formerly parallel lines will start to meet. You can just be careful or use something called a perspective correcting lens, which is generally expensive. However, your image editor should let you stretch things back more or less to normal.
- Iif two things are close to the same shade, they may blend into each other. This can lead to some pretty funny things, like having a person in a black turtleneck in front of a black background and getting a picture of a floating head. Your choices are to increase the lighting on one of the objects, moving the subject in front of something else, getting the subject to change clothes, or use your digital darkroom to change the image contrast enough to separate the two.
- If you're in a hurry to take someone's photo, you can inadvertently become a surgeon and lop off some part of the body or head. If you do it to a great enough degree, you could try to bluff your way out and call it artistic. Otherwise, pay attention when looking through the viewfinder.
- You can also become a Dr. Frankenstein and add things that nature never intended. Juxtapositions between subjects, foreground, and background can make for some odd effects, like the telephone pole behind your cousin Rita that will look as though it's growing out of her head. You'll need to move yourself or the subject or be ready for some intensive computer work to actually retouch significant portions of the picture[md]possible, but a big pain in the shutter finger. If the pole actually is growing out of her head, there's probably nothing I can do for you. Or her.
Labels: composition, lighting
On Crossword Cruelty
A book of crossword puzzles some friends had given me last Christmas, Will Shortz's Greatest Hits
, recently turned up after I had originally misplaced it. So I've been trying to work my way through some at the beginning. "Trying" is particularly apt, as that is how I find many of the puzzles to be. For years I've made the foolish assumption that there were certain unstated rules to crossword puzzles, such as each block gets only one letter, or the number of blocks indicates the number of letters. Oh, how mistaken I have been! One puzzle required the solver to put the word "house" into various spots. Another had several two-letter combinations and one of three letters. In other words, you can spin around and around without realizing that it's impossible to find a four letter synonym for "whim" that will fit into the puzzle because you actually want the six-letter "notion."
And so I have decided, at least in theory, to plot my revenge by releasing what I think would be an incredibly cruel crossword. There would be only one word clues, and each clue would have at least one synonym with the same number of letters. But the answer to each clue would be the clue word itself. People would at least spend five minutes tearing at their hair, wondering why things wouldn't fit together. Of course, one would have to publish this anonymously.
Labels: crossword, puzzles, Shortz
Review: Photoshop CS3 Photographer's Handbook: An Easy Workflow
I seem to be on the Rocky Nook mailing list. I just got a copy of Photoshop CS3 Photographer's Handbook: An Easy Workflow
. If you've been using Photoshop for years, this probably has little interest for you. But if you've decided to take the plunge, this is a good first
book. Notice my emphasis. You won't learn all the mysteries of the software available in the index. Certainly I noticed a few techniques in here that aren't, to my mind, the best ways of accomplishing a goal.
But what the book does is offer a roadmap, from bringing images in to learning the basic tools and retouching, and preparing images for their final use, whether print or electronic. The book (lists for $35.95) is only a couple of hundred or so pages long, but that's a strength in this case. You get at least one way of getting images through Photoshop. After you're comfortable with it, then there are many other references and more tricks than you could learn in a month of Sundays. This gives you a basic workflow that you can adapt and change to meet your own preferences and to incorporate the new things that you learn. But might as well get walking before you break into a sprint.
Labels: book, Photoshop, review, workflow
French Teen Arrested for Posting Potter Translation
French police arrested a 16-year old from Aix-en-Provence for posting his own translation of the final Harry Potter novel before the release of the official version, scheduled for October. According to the Reuters story
, here's what a representative of Gallimard, publisher of the sanctioned French version of the novels, said:
"It is not a young person or a fan we are talking about here -- these are organized networks that use young people," she told Reuters by telephone.
Networks using young people? Oh, right, there are criminal networks recruiting young people to surrepticiously translate large novels from one langauge to another and then to post their work on the web, removing any chance of making money off their effort. The criminal networks, concerned that they seem to be making nothing from their enterprises, are said to be planning to retain consultants to help analyze their business models.
Labels: Deathly Hallows, France, Harry Potter, translation
NFL Forces Photographers to Wear Product Logos
I was a little aghast when I heard an earlier version of this story
. According to newspaper trade publication Editor and Publisher, the National Football League insists that working photojournalists documenting games must wear read vests that have logos for two product companies: Canon and Reebok.
The National Press Photographers Association has been protesting the action, but apparently not all that loudly:
"The NFL says there are no plans to add additional logos to the vests, or to increase the size of the marks, and that they think the Reebok and Canon logos are appropriate because the vests are made by Reebok and because Canon ‘has made the commitment to fund the cost of the vest,’" NPPA reported on its Web site after receiving the letter from NFL vice president of public relations Greg Aiello, which added that "Both logos are directly related to the manufacture of the vest. Given this, it is inaccurate to characterize them as advertising messages sold to NFL sponsors or others."
Not advertising messages? So they paid for the vests - but I wonder did they pay the actual cost, or did the NFL manager to eke out a few extra dollars of profit doing this?
As for saying that it's not advertising, oh, please. Who do they think they are fooling? The logos are there to be seen, and that means it's part of the marketing of the two companies. No plans to add logos? I'm sure that's true - at the moment, though I wonder if they asked whether the NFL might add logos in the future.
It was disappoiting to hear that this practice isn't all that unusual, and that in other sports photographers routinely have to be promotional billboards when they're supposed to be acting as journalists. One might wonder what woudl happen if a publication had a story that was unfavorable to one of the non-sponsors.
Labels: logos, NFL, photographers, sports, vests
New Republic Gets Another Black Eye?
According to an article in the Weekly Standard
, Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the New Republic's "Baghdad Diarist," signed a sworn statement "admitting that all three articles he published in the New Republic were exaggerations and falsehoods." Apparently the WS is going on the word of a single source on this part of the story, though it says it received a statement from the military stating, "An investigation has been completed and the allegations made by PVT Beauchamp were found to be false. His platoon and company were interviewed and no one could substantiate the claims."
This has got to be bad news for the New Republic, which had a public fiasco with the articles - fictions would be a closer term - that Stephen Glass wrote for the publication. Beauchamp is married to a TNR staffer, according to a statement from the magazine
. It appareantly did some extensive fact checking and thought that the majority of the reports were accurate. It will be interesting to see if a copy of the statement comes out soon to confirm the WS report.
Labels: Bagdad, Beauchamp, New Republic, Weekly Standard
Technique: Using a Monopod
A tripod is great to keep a camera steady so you can get a sharper image than you would from handheld shot. But tripods can be a pain to set up. Sometims a monopod - really a collapsable long stick with a bracket on one end for the camera - is the way to go. For example, I've used them in theaters, to keep an extra degree of stability when shooting under low light, or in crowds, so I can move about. But a monopod, missing two legs, isn't as stable as a tripod.
To solve that problem, extend the monopod a few inches longer than you might otherwise. Set it on the ground or floor in front of you and then lean the top, with the camera, back toward you. Now tip the camera forward so you can get your shot. Your two legs provide the additional stability the monopod misses by having only one leg.
Labels: monopod, steady, technique
Celebrity Interviews Don't Catch a Cold
An article in the Washington Post has been making the rounds among some journalists I know. It looks at the celebrity interview
and how it's become a formulaic exercise in fake intimacy. To know that, all you'd have to do is critically view or read, oh, maybe ... one
celeb interview. The author, Ann Homaday, even does a short historic rundown of the origins of this most odd journalistic exercise. Here's the basics of the approach, as explained by a vet of the women's magazines:
If structured spontaneity is the coin of the realm of TV, then ersatz rapport is the folding money of print. "I write for a lot of women's magazines, and I'm always encouraged to make my subjects 'relate-able,' " says Jancee Dunn, whose memoir "But Enough About Me" chronicles her career writing celebrity profiles for such publications as Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and GQ. "It's a word I hear over and over. That and 'likable.' And apparently that's due to reader demand. It's all very structured. They want to relate, they want to think of the celebrity as their best friend, or at least someone they could be friends with."
The sad thing is that it is possible to do something more interesting.
Immodestly speaking, I still like the interview I did with actor Tony Shalhoub
for AARP the Magazine (at least the first version that got changed significantly in the editing process). It was about making decisions (an interesting angle given that the character he plays on his show Monk couldn't pick right from left on a good day). I took his quotes and put them together for an as-told-to, though the original version before editing was better, I thought. Of course the magazine pushed for some intimate personal detail or other that would bring in the crowds, but it was still acceptable after the fact. And the real fascinating part for me was the actual discussion with Mr. Shalhoub, an actor whose talent and work I greatly admire. I will see if at some point I can post the original version, but the link above to the published one will have to do for now.
Labels: celebrities, formula, interviews, Tony Shaloub
Beef Up Storage Now
"I've got plenty" is the last call of the computer owner who will end up with a rude shock when suddenly nothing more fits on the hard drive. I've said this multiple times when I kenw better, and the most recent was realizing that I needed a much bigger hard drive. Now, I had something on the order of 200 GB split between two drives. But if you're going to keep a lot of photos at close reach, then that is nothing. Shoot RAW images and you can easily find one session sucking up 1 GB or more of storage. Forget the online services for this. What happens if you forget to pay or if yo uhave a big problem? Do you want umpteen gigabytes of data to evaporate or to be downloding for hours? I just checked at a store and saw a 750 GB hard drive well under $300. Now, it will be a pain to transfer everything and set up yet another drive, but that's what I'll end up doing within the next few weeks. And I'll be all set - until next time.
Labels: hard drive, photos, storage
Stalking the Wild Hacker
According to a story in The Enquirer
(a UK tech site), Michelle Madigan, an associate producer from Dateline NBC decided to go undercover at Defcon, the annual global hackers convention held in Las Vegas. (I'm waiting until hackers create their own trade union.) The people running Defcon spoke to her multiple times, offering press credentials. She wanted to do things the hard way - and so, she did:
Too bad. They knew when her plane took off. They knew when her plane landed. They knew when she picked up her non-press attendee pass (human in the vernacular). They followed her around. They knew when she walked into the ladies room to wire up, camera and sound. She knew that the camera was not allowed but did it anyway, and told a goon that she was doing so.
You've got to figure that people who like taking the road less travelled, that as often use a practical understanding of human psychology as technical skills, might not be easy marks. If you researched for 15 minutes, you'd probably also gather that such people are unlikely to take things sitting down. (Well, technically most were sitting when they busted her cover during a large gathering.) So much for the enterprising reporter.
Labels: Dateline NBC, Defcon, hackers, Michelle Madigan
Dealing with Latency
Ever push the shutter button on your digital camera and find yourself waiting ... and waiting? That time between pressing and snapping is called latency, and it's a bigger problem than you might realize. You're fine if having a friend or family member stand in front of Grant's Tomb and taking a snapshot, because chances are the person won't be going anywhere until you're done.
When things are moving quickly, though, you can find that the picture you wanted it gone by the time the shutter gets around to opening and closing. Newer models of cameras, particularly DSLRs, keep shaving the latency time. But you don't want to buy a new camera every year, so here are two strategies.
One is to experiment with your camera and get a feel for how much time passes after you press the button before it actually takes the picture. Then you have to anticipate the rhythm of events and take a picture so that things are just where you wanted when the shutter opens.
The other approach works when your camera supports a number of frames a second - the so-called burst rate. Make sure you set the camera to continuous shooting (if you need to do that). You start shooting just before the key moment you expect and stop just after it's done. There's no absolutely guarantee that you'll get what you wanted, but you stand a much better chance that at least one of the frames will get it.
Labels: digital, latency, shutter
The New York Times Makes a Questionable Editorial Choice
On July 22, 2007, Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman and contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine published an article concerning the difficulties in reconciling an Orthodox Jewish way of life and the rest of the world. The opening of the essay is an experience from Feldman's past, when he bought his Korean-American fiancée to his tenth reunion of his yeshiva and then was surprised and, presumably, hurt because the two of them were cropped out of the reunion picture in the newsletter.
Unfortunately, there seems to have been more of a story. According to The Jewish Week
, there is considerable evidence (the word of the photographer and an admission by Feldman) that the cropping was not a deliberate slight, but that a number of people were inadvertently left out of the picture because there were simply too many there for a single frame of film.
I used the word unfortunately for good reason. The faulty reporting, and the apparent unwillingness of Times editors to have Feldman correct his essay's opening, has brought the accuracy of the entire piece - and the intentions of all involved - into doubt. That is a shame, because there is value within the piece as it addresses the difficulty of trying to be Orthodox in this world as well as the tensions on the Jewish part between these two worlds:
One time at Maimonides a local physician -- a well-known figure in the community who later died tragically young -- addressed a school assembly on the topic of the challenges that a modern Orthodox professional may face. The doctor addressed the Talmudic dictum that the saving of a life trumps the Sabbath. He explained that in its purest form, this principle applies only to the life of a Jew. The rabbis of the Talmud, however, were unprepared to allow the life of a non-Jew to be extinguished because of the no-work commandment, and so they ruled that the Sabbath could be violated to save the life of a non-Jew out of concern for maintaining peaceful relations between the Jewish and non-Jewish communities.
Depending on how you look at it, this ruling is either an example of outrageously particularist religious thinking, because in principle it values Jewish life more than non-Jewish life, or an instance of laudable universalism, because in practice it treats all lives equally. The physician quite reasonably opted for the latter explanation. And he added that he himself would never distinguish Jewish from non-Jewish patients: a human being was a human being.
And then there was the teacher who stood and said that view put the doctor in the danger of violating Torah. The teacher later apologized to the class - not because he felt he was wrong, but because there were non-Jews in the audience when he spoke. "The double standard of Jews and non-Jews, in other words, was for him truly irreducible: it was not just about noting that only Jewish lives merited violation of the Sabbath, but also about keeping the secret of why non-Jewish lives might be saved," as Feldman writes.
Of course, this ultimately isn't about a tribal attitude belonging to Orthodox Jews. You can find the same attitude among Muslims (look at the Shiite/Sunni divisions), among Christians, among virtually any nationality. You can find it in school rivalries, for heaven's sake. We are People and you are not. This is the heritage of mankind and, perhaps, one of the real meanings of the Tower of Babel story. We as a global people have long ceased speaking the same language, and we don't recognize each other's humanity. If we did, war, economic oppression, and many other features of modern life would become impossible to undertake. Oh, for some real translation in today's world.
Labels: Feldman, Judaism, New York Times Magazine, Orthodoxy
Mastering Photo Modes
Most digital SLRs
have different programming modes - one for portraits, one for fast action, another to set the shutter speed and have the camera select the proper aperture. Each mode has its own characteristics
, and it's a good idea to learn what they are before assuming that you're really get what you want with one.
For example, I was trying to use one of the full programming modes once and learned the hard way that the camera automatically saved all the images in a JPEG
format (a compressed image) rather than the RAW files (the image information as it comes off the sensor) I prefer. JPEGs
are fine, except that to make the image smaller, software someone throws out data. That means it's harder to enlarge these images or do certain types of retouching or manipulation because you don't have available what the camera originally captured. A given mode can easily affect sharpness and color settings or make decisions that affect how the image will look at the end.
I"m not suggesting to only shoot manual mode, but read through the computer manual and see what decisions you may be making without realizing it.
Labels: DSLR, exposure, modes
Used Booksellers Skew Older
If you're curious as to who is selling used books online, AbeBooks.com, which operates a network of such dealers, has some answers
. The company surveyed 1,949 online sellers that do business with it and found that 79% are over 45, most were in white collar jobs, and 20% work 51 or more hours a week. Many are on the road buying books, 60% operate strictly online, and a third read between five and 10 books a month. So much for graceful early retirement.
Labels: AbeBooks.com, books, booksellers, online, used
Manual Focus on DLSRs
I've come to delight in the existence of autofocus. But there are times that the camera can't do what you want. The lighting may be too dim, or there might not be enough contrast in the scene. Or you might just want a couple of shots with varying points of focus, but don't want to wait for the autofocus to kick in between them. Here's how you make manual focus work for you:
- Set the lens to manual focus.
- Choose the most important part of your picture. That’s most likely the one you want to be sure is in focus. (Though there are times that deliberately putting the subject out of focus can work.)
- Hold the camera viewfinder up to your eye and look at the subject.
- Watch the viewfinder as you turn the lens’s focus ring. Concentrate on the important part of the image. That part will keep getting sharper until it can’t get any better, and then it will start to get fuzzier again. When it does, start the ring back the other way s-l-o-w-l-y until the image again looks sharp.
- Press the shutter button and take your picture.
If the image doesn’t seem to be getting sharper, you may be turning the ring in the wrong direction, so spin it back the other way. And if you’re using a zoom lens and the image keeps changing sizes, you’ve just grabbed the zoom ring instead.
Especially at first, you may find yourself twisting the ring back and forth, trying to find the point at which the image is in best focus. Chalk it up to learning; as you practice, you’ll find that you can put a scene into focus quickly.
Labels: autofocus, DSLR, focus, manual
Don't Poke Fun at New Zealand's Parliament
If New Zealand's parliament doesn't want to be satired and ridiculed by people in the country, it doesn't have to be. According to a Press Gazette story
The new standing orders, voted in last month, concern the use of images of Parliamentary debates, and make it a contempt of Parliament for broadcasters or anyone else to use footage of the chamber for "satire, ridicule or denigration".
This is potentially punishable by some time in jail. Obviously Sauron didn't quite disappear from the land when
Labels: censorship, New Zealand, parliament, satire